An important and fascinating book, which reveals, step by step, the rise of totalitarian states and the decline of the democracies. Events that seem ancient history are marshalled in clear history perspective, part of today's pattern. The historian portrait painter as he reveals the leading figures on the European stage; he brings events and countries out of the historical morgue, -- you see them crumble as Hitler destroys their foundations, spreading panic and fear. The stupidity, the blundering, the cowardice not make a pretty picture, and the USA does not escape the indictment. A long book, packed with meal and grand reading.